Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences at the University of Colorado Boulder

Atmospheric Chemistry Program Seminar: ANYL Alumni Career Panel w/ Melissa Trainer (NASA); Dan Bon (CDPHE)

ANYL Alumni Career Panel: Melissa Trainer (NASA), and Dan Bon (CDPHE)

Dr. Melissa Trainer is a planetary scientist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) with expertise in the composition of planetary atmospheres and the production of organic molecules and aerosols via in situ synthesis pathways. Dr. Trainer currently serves as a Deputy Principal Investigator (PI) for the Dragonfly mission to Saturn's moon Titan, part of the NASA Planetary Science New Frontiers Program. She is also the lead for the Dragonfly Mass Spectrometer (DraMS), which enables the investigation of Titan's surface composition and characterization of potential prebiotic chemistry. She has spent more than two decades characterizing the properties of Titan and early Earth aerosol analogs, with publications on the chemical, optical, and isotopic properties of organic hazes. Dr. Trainer is a member of the Mars Science Laboratory Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument team, for which she led the campaign to conduct the first in situ multi-year study of the seasonal variations of the composition of the Mars atmosphere through surface mass spectrometry measurements. She received her undergraduate degree in Chemistry from Franklin and Marshall College in 2000, and her PhD in Analytical Chemistry from the University of Colorado-Boulder in 2006. She has been a scientist at NASA since 2009.


Daniel Bon, PhD. Supervisor, Air Toxics Measurement and Special Projects Unit, Technical Services Program, Air Pollution Control Division, Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. Daniel Bon completed his PhD in Atmospheric Chemistry in 2011 and the University of Colorado, Boulder and the NOAA ESRL Chemical Sciences Division, where his research focused on PTR-MS field measurements of volatile organic compounds in the atmosphere. Since 2011, Dr. Bon has worked for the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, Air Pollution Control Division. From 2016-2022, Dr. Bon built and operated the Colorado Air Monitoring Mobile Laboratory. In 2021, he became the Unit Supervisor for the newly created Air Toxics Measurement and Special Projects Unit created to respond to HB21-1189 and HB22-1244 Air Toxics bills passed by the Colorado State Legislature. His growing team includes 7 scientists and 3 mobile measurement labs. Students could learn about what we do by reading the summaries of the new Colorado Air Toxics bills our group is working to implement and a recent press release: hb21-1189, hb22-1244, press release


We have asked the speakers to present for 12-15 min on their perspective on careers outside academia for PhD chemists, and in particular for graduates of our ANYL PhD program. For example, they may address the following questions: what path took you to where you are? What strengths from the ANYL program helped you in your career? What could have the program done to make that better? What do you wish someone had told you when you were a PhD student? What advice would you give to current PhD students and postdocs? A Q&A session will follow, prioritizing questions from current students and postdocs.


Monday, November 14, 2022
12:15 pm


  • CU Boulder


  • CIRES employees


  • Seminar
  • Open to Public